Football Zebras™

Wild Card assignments: Blakeman, Cheffers, Hochuli, Morelli

week18 Football Zebras has confirmed the officiating crews for the Wild Card weekend. Officials are listed with their uniform number, years experience (including this season), the crew each official worked with in the regular season (by the referee’s name), college, and outside occupation.

All times are Eastern.

Three alternates are assigned to each game: generally, one is designated for the offensive backfield (a referee or umpire), one is on the line of scrimmage (head linesman or line judge), and one is a deep position (side judge, field judge, or back judge).

The prior playoff experience listed for the crew chief includes his service as an NFL official, including as referee and any other crew position (excluding alternate assignments).

Saturday, Jan. 3

NFC Wild Card: Cardinals at Panthers, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Ed Hochuli is the referee. This is his 25th year as an official and 23rd as referee. This is Hochuli’s 23rd postseason assignment, the most of any active official (8 Wild Card Playoffs, 6 Divisional Playoffs, 7 Conference Championships, and Super Bowls XXXII and XXXVIII).

Yrs 2014 crew College Occupation
R 85 Ed Hochuli 25 Hochuli Texas-El Paso attorney
U 115 Tony Michalek 13 Boger Indiana USA Football officiating director
HL 22 Steve Stelljes 13 Anderson Friends business planning manager
LJ 107 Ron Marinucci 18 Blakeman Glassboro State vice president, novelty cone company
FJ 29 Adrian Hill 5 Hochuli Buffalo software engineer
SJ 41 Boris Cheek 19 Triplette Morgan State director of operations and management
BJ 93 Scott Helverson 12 Hochuli Iowa sales, printing and promotions
  • Replay official: Tom Sifferman
  • Replay assistant: Roger Ruth

AFC Wild Card: Ravens at Steelers, 8 p.m. (NBC)

Clete Blakeman is the referee, who is in his 7th season and 5th as referee. This is Blakeman’s 4th postseason assignment (3 Wild Card Playoffs, 1 Divisional Playoff); he has only missed the playoffs one season in which he was eligible.

Yrs 2014 crew College Occupation
R 34 Clete Blakeman 7 Blakeman Nebraska attorney
U 40 Butch Hannah 16 Triplette Middle Tennessee State retired federal probation officer
HL 28 Mark Hittner 18 Wrolstad Pittsburg State investment broker
LJ 45 Jeff Seeman 13 Cheffers Minnesota brokerage sales
FJ 82 Buddy Horton 16 Morelli Oregon State water service worker
SJ 15 Rick Patterson 19 Blakeman Wofford banker
BJ 46 Perry Paganelli 17 Parry Hope College retired high school administrator
  •  Replay official: Carl Madsen

Sunday, Jan. 4

AFC Wild Card: Bengals at Colts, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Carl Cheffers is the referee, who is in his 15th year and 7th as referee. This is Cheffers’ 9th postseason assignment (4 Wild Card Playoffs, 3 Divisional Playoffs, and 2 Conference Championships).

Yrs 2014 crew College Occupation
R 51 Carl Cheffers 15 Cheffers California-Irvine sales manager
U 121 Paul King 6 Vinovich Nicholls State school teacher
HL 54 George Hayward 24 Corrente Missouri Western vice-president and manager, warehouse company
LJ 100 Tom Symonette 11 Allen Florida certified public accountant
FJ 67 Doug Rosenbaum 14 Allen Illinois Wesleyan financial consultant
SJ 3 Scott Edwards 16 Torbert Alabama environmental engineer
BJ 119 Greg Wilson 7 Corrente USC law enforcement
  • Replay official: Jim Lampetina
  • Replay assistant Jim Pearson
  • Supervisor: Johnny Grier

NFC Wild Card: Lions at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. (Fox)

Pete Morelli is the referee, who is in his 18th season and 13th as referee. This is Morelli’s 15th postseason assignment (7 Wild Card Playoffs, 5 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XXXVI). His Super Bowl assignment was as a field judge. Thanks to Dave Birkett for the crew list.

Yrs 2014 crew College Occupation
R 135 Pete Morelli 18 Morelli St Mary’s high school principal
U 81 Roy Ellison 12 Wrolstad Savannah State technical staff member
HL 91 Jerry Bergman 13 Coleman Robert Morris sales executive
LJ 90 Mike Spanier 16 Coleman St Cloud State middle school principal
FJ 20 Barry Anderson 8 Torbert North Carolina State builder/developer
SJ 56 Allen Baynes 7 Boger Auburn realtor
BJ 27 Lee Dyer 12 Wrolstad Tennessee-Chattanooga sales manager
  • Replay official: Bob McGrath

40 comments for “Wild Card assignments: Blakeman, Cheffers, Hochuli, Morelli

  1. Cameron
    December 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Clete Blakeman has the Ravens-Steelers game, per a very trusted Baltimore source.

  2. sdisme
    December 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hochuli just did Pitt vs. Cin. – I would be surprised to see him do Cin again.

  3. sdisme
    December 31, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Oh and Cheffers did Arizona in Week 17 – So I would venture to guess Cheffers has Cin vs. Colts and Hoch has Ari vs. Car.

  4. John
    December 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Please football Gods…….no Hochuli!

  5. December 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    OK, I think we have a pretty good guess of the assignments for Blakeman, Hochuli, Cheffers, and Morelli:
    BAL@PIT- Blakeman,
    ARI@CAR-Hochuli, Cheffers just did Arizona last week.
    DET@DAL-Morelli, Already confirmed.
    CIN@IND-Cheffers, Only one left.

  6. December 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Btw Hochuli did a Cincy game last week so that gives Cheffers CIN@IND.

  7. John
    December 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Btw Hochuli stood in the middle of the field. He didn’t officiate anything!

  8. Jon
    December 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Hoch was in Carolina Week 16 vs Cleveland

  9. Cameron
    December 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    All regular season worked games (five-week rule, one stadium rule) are disregarded for the playoff assignments. It is likely that Cheffers and Hochuli will not rework those two respective teams twice in a row, but it is a possibility that they will.

  10. John
    December 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    It would be an injustice!

  11. joe83
    December 31, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Not an injustice. They do the best jobs in the regular season.

  12. December 31, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    I wonder if Craig Wrolstad, Ron Torbert, or Brad Allen, the new refs, will get a playoff assignment for the divisional round.

  13. drr345
    December 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Don’t think the new guys are eligible due to lack of experience.

  14. drr345
    December 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    As an aside, I’m surprised that Hochuli got a playoff game. He had a couple of awful roughing the passer calls that he had to be dinged for.

  15. Bill
    December 31, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Good news for Morelli in relation to the Super Bowl, which I think a lot of us believe he will get the call for.

  16. John
    January 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Agreed drr345!

  17. Dave C
    January 1, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Bill- the wildcard pretty much says no super bowl. The divisional round is usually where the bowl refs get picked from – as has been the case the last few years.

  18. JP
    January 1, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I’ve been saying for about two months that I think the Super Bowl ref is Vinovich. Just seems like every time I turned in a big game this year, he was working.

  19. Cameron
    January 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Steelers Flip card:

    R – Clete Blakeman (34)
    U – Butch Hannah (40)
    HL – Mark Hittner (28)
    LJ – Jeff Seeman (45)
    FJ – Buddy Horton (82)
    SJ – Rick Patterson (15)
    BJ – Perry Paganelli (46)
    Replay – Carl Madsen

  20. Cameron
    January 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I hate to do it, I don’t like being picky, but the officials’ referee crews are last years (SJ Patterson now on Blakeman, FJ Horton now on Morelli).

  21. Ryan
    January 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Hittner is on Wrolstad crew not Hochuli

  22. January 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    During the NFL playoffs, most of the crews are a combination of officials from different referee crews rather than using that own referees’ crew members.

  23. Rich
    January 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Hochuli needs to referee all Patriots games do to the excessive rule breaking tactics of the defensive backfield for Patriots corners and safeties ( belicheat ). Ed will call it right ….hopefully!

  24. Zac Grant
    January 4, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Blakeman’s crew was horrible tonight. Inconsistent calls. I hate to see my fellow officials do so badly

  25. January 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Steratore of the Gene variety will become the first official to officiate in the super bowl and the ncaa final four bball in the same year.

  26. January 4, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Wow, I’m not usually one to whine about the officials, and there were certainly other contributing factors, but I’ve never seen such a blatant screw-job as Morelli and crew pulled off today in Dallas. I know the NFL and Fox badly wanted that Cowboys-Packers matchup, but to correctly call a penalty on a key play and even announce it, and THEN to pick up the flag and reverse the call for the league-favored home team with no explanation given? In 40+ years of watching sports I’ve never seen anything like that in any professional sport.

  27. January 4, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    That Pass Interference flag during the Detroit vs. Dallas game should not have been picked up. Bad call by the officials.

  28. Matt Russow
    January 4, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Who is working the Packers/Cowboys game?

  29. gregricejacobs
    January 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    MINGUSAL I am as shocked as you are by this call/no-call. I plan on researching what happened with this play/game. You seem as though you have been on this site for some time, and may be able to provide some helpful insight into how the referee assignments/call are made. please email me if you’re interested in helping me with looking into this play

  30. Jerome
    January 4, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Makes you wonder if the BJ and HL were replacements. Good thing they all got those big pay raises in 2012!! The hypocrisy continues.

  31. Jessy S.
    January 5, 2015 at 3:31 am

    For those of you that are whining about the screwjob in the Cowboys vs Lions game, I felt like that the Cowboys were facing off against the Lions and the officials. This is coming from a Cowboys fan.

  32. January 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I agree Jessy there were calls early in the game that were very questionable to say the least that killed Dallas. I guess it all equals out. According to the ref the flag was picked up because an official with a better view saw it differently and said it was face guarding not pass interference, which it a penalty in college but not the NFL. Great game none the less.

  33. Rob Bowen
    January 5, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Most PI calls can be debated either way. I thought it was a PI. I’ve seen a lot less called for sure. Dez Bryant running 10 yards onto the field without his helmet screaming at the official is another story.

  34. January 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    The Lions got robbed period. As a long time Cowboys fan, I was disgusted in how far Jerry Jones will desperately force down Cowboys fans throats that Romo is the savor of the franchise in Jerry’s quest for that coveted Lord of the Rings (Super Bowl ). It appears the more I watch today’s NFL,the more the games are fixed for TV ratings and fantasy football. This is not the NFL that my father’s knew.

  35. January 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Dez running out on the field yelling at the refs without his helmet, should have been an unsportsmanlike penalty as well. Every time the TV cameras show Governor Christie @ Cowboys games, the Cowboys always win. Is the mafia part of the sham too.

  36. January 5, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    I agree Dez should have been flagged. To say the game is fixed or that the referees helped Dallas win is absurd. They call it the way they see it. Maybe they got caught up in the moment and missed the call but don’t blame them. Detroit had it 4th and 1 and chose to punt. That punt was shanked only 10 yards. Dallas drove down the field and scored a game winning touchdown. That’s why they won!